Halloween Treat Ideas Other than Candy

Halloween and candy are synonymous, however many parents today are trying to keep their kids away from too much candy. If you don’t want all that candy in your home, and are looking to get away from handing out sweet treats, here is a list of trick or treat alternatives to consider:

Books-small paperbacks or coloring books

Playdough- small containers

Pencils-Halloween themed

Crayons-small packages

Money-small coins like nickels or dimes

Stickers-Halloween themed

Coupons-to local restaurants, or discounted movie theaters passes

Trinkets-plastic bracelets, or rings Halloween themed

Do you have any other ideas for Halloween treats?

How to Plant in the Shade

If you have shady areas in your yard it can be difficult to find the right plants for that shady spot. There are several types of  plants that will thrive in a shady garden.

Here are some plants and shrubs that will flourish in your shady spot:

Leading the pack of shady perennial foliages that come to mind; hostas and heucheras. These two plants are shade-loving, leafy ornamentals. Hostas have large-leaves and come in a wide range of shades, including fragrant and variegated varieties. Heucheras, or coral bells, come in many shades of green and also have many great hues like bronze, red and pink.

Small trees accustomed to growing under larger, spreading trees are a great fit for shady areas in your yard. Persimmon and pawpaws trees even add edible elements to your landscaping. You will also want to consider Paperbark maple, Eastern redbud and the White Fringe tree for the shade.

Ornamental shrubs add a nice addition for shade gardeners. Consider using daphnes, mountain laurels and large and dwarfing rhododendrons.

There are also many perennial flowers that love the shade. Some favorites include Lily-of-the-Valley, Bleeding heart, Astiblle, Columbine and the Crested iris.

You can even plant some edible plants in your shade garden. There are some herbs, especially mint that loves shady spots. Mint will also bring a delicious smell to your garden. Plant the herb in urns or under large trees. Be careful to keep mint separate from other perennials, it spreads quickly and will choke out neighboring plants.  If your garden has some partly shady areas you can also plant lemon balm, bee balm or tarragon.


How to Create a Less Stressful Home Bidding Process

Bidding on a house can be a stressful process, especially when you’ve found your dream home. While the wait to hear back on if your bid has been accepted can be a time of anxious anticipation there are things you can do to make it less so. By being prepared ahead of time and knowing what to expect you can create a smoother, and therefore, less stressful bidding process. Keep reading for some tips on how to do just that below!

Know what you’re willing to spend. Decide on what your ideal price and what the maximum amount you will be willing to spend are before beginning the bidding process. This is an ideal step to take before beginning house hunting as well. Doing so will allow for a more streamlined bidding process, especially if there is a bidding war. Knowing when an offer is out of your budget will prevent financial stress now and in the future as well.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Before putting in your bid get everything you need in order to ensure you are pre-approved for a mortgage. Once you are approved you can show the seller your pre-approval paperwork when placing your bid. This will help you look more serious about your offer and even a more attractive buyer to the seller.

Schedule a home inspection. Scheduling a home inspection before placing your bid will allow you to make a more informed offer on the house you are interested in. To get the most out of your inspection have a list for the inspector of any concerns you had about the house during your walk through. Ask your real estate agent for a referral to an inspector they know and trust as they will have worked with many before.

The real estate agent knows best. Listen to any advice your real estate agent may have for you throughout the bidding process. They are an expert in the home buying field and familiar with the different intricacies of home buying procedures. Not every home buying process is the same and an experienced real estate agent should be familiar with variations to each sale. If your real estate agent suggests a course of action follow suit to ensure that the buying process goes more smoothly.

While I can’t guarantee an entirely stress-free experience when bidding on a house, there are things you can do to help ease any anxiety that comes with attempting to buy your dream home. With preparedness and a smart real estate agent on your side you can feel more confident and less anxious in your bidding process. Once you have the keys to your new home in hand you will be glad you took the steps necessary to create a smooth and successful process!